Caniapiscau is a vast but sparsely-populated regional county municipality, with 4,260 people in a remote 70,390km² area of Northeastern Quebec. (2874 live in Fermont, the larger of the two main settlements, while 213 live in Schefferville).
Towns and villages
There was a temporary work camp from 1974-1984 during construction of the James Bay hydroelectric project:
- Caniapiscau (54°52′4.1″N 69°50′10.5″W), as a small community without a permanent population established 1974 on the north side of the Caniapiscau Reservoir. A temporary work site at the end of the 666km (444 mi) Trans-Taiga Road (fr: Route Transtaïga), abandoned when hydroelectric development was completed. This is reachable by 4WD vehicles from the main James Bay Road; except for an outfitter's camp and floatplane base, there's basically nothing there.
- Brisay, as a waypoint, marks a fork in the road on the west side of the Caniapiscau Reservoir. There are no services.
While "Caniapiscau" is used here to identify the regional county municipality, a large hydroelectric reservoir and an abandoned former work camp also bear the name. There is no permanent population associated with these points.
Fermont and Schefferville are remote mining communities, linked to Sept-Îles by rail. Schefferville is not reachable by road; its mine closed in the mid-1980s when resource prices were low, but has since re-opened. Quebec Route 389 serves Fermont, continuing across a provincial boundary to Labrador City some 28km (16 miles) distant on the Trans-Labrador Highway. With the exception of small native communities, there is little or no other permanent settlement in the region.
The west side of the reservoir is on a branch of the James Bay Road and therefore not accessible by road from Fermont, short of making a wide (and bizarre) 2760km detour through Baie-Comeau, Tadoussac, Chicoutimi-Nord, Lac St. Jean, Chibougamau-Chapais and Matagami.
Mostly French. Fermont is one of the northernmost French-speaking towns of any size worldwide.
Schefferville is not accessible by road, but is served by a train from Sept-Îles, QC and Emeril, Labrador. The line ends at Sept-Îles and does not connect to the rest of the North American rail network.
Schefferville is accessible by air. Fermont may be reached by flying into nearby Labrador City.
- Taxi Liaison Fermont, 3 rue Tilly, Fermont, ☎ +1 418-287-5087.
- Taxi Porlier, 524 Ruth St, Schefferville, ☎ +1 418-585-3453.
Caniapiscau is home to the huge Caniapiscau Reservoir, the largest body of water in Quebec. It was named after Lake Caniapiscau that was flooded in 1981 due to the formation of the reservoir.
Various outfitters sell fishing expeditions (northern pike, walleye, lake trout and brook char/speckled trout) and caribou hunting expeditions. Most of these operations are based outside the region and fly the visitor in to a remote off-grid location; a few fly from Schefferville to some otherwise-inaccessible point.
- Cantine Chez Rita's, 120 Val-Gregoire, Schefferville, ☎ +1 418-585-2379.
- Dyailo Restaurant, 299 le Carrefour, Fermont, ☎ +1 418-287-3161.
Fermont (pop 2784) was established in 1972 to house workers for the Mont Wright Mine. A single oversize building (which serves as a windbreak for the village) houses apartments, a grocer (Métro), a bowling alley, schools, and the only bar. Hôtel Fermont (299 le Carrefour, +1 418-287-5451) is the sole hotel until Labrador City, some 28km (16 mi) distant. Fermont is reachable by gravel road (Québec Route 389); fuel (Esso), tyres and repair parts are available.
Schefferville is not reachable by road, but nominally it has a Rodeway Inn (Hotel Innutel, 300 Wishart, +1 418-585-3888, fax +1 418-585-3999) which is not inexpensive (over $200/night, for nothing particularly elaborate). A guest house (Hotel Auberge Guest House, 550 Star Creek, +1 418-585-2520) is also very basic and just as expensive.
|Routes through Fermont|
|Goose Bay ← Labrador City ←||NE S||→ Manic 5 → Baie-Comeau|